Cutworm Wasp

digger wasp?
April 19, 2010
i am pretty sure this is a digger wasp, but was wondering if you could tell me what kind. would be really cool if you could also tell me what kind of caterpillar it is, but not sure this picture would help as much with that. the picture was taken in the antelope valley, near lancaster, california
antelope valley california poppy reserve

Cutworm Wasp

Dear naaman,
We believe we have correctly identified your Thread Waisted Wasp as a Cutworm Wasp in the genus Podalonia based on photos posted to BugGuide and your documentation of the wasp about to bury a Cutworm Caterpillar.  According to BugGuide they are:  “Parasitoids of Noctuidae (cutworm) caterpillars. Excavate nest after finding prey, reversal of the order for most sphecids. One caterpillar is placed in each cell. P. luctuosa has two flights per year in Michigan. Second brood overwinters in burrows, sometimes with others of the species. Other species have one generation per year.
”  BugGuide does not indicate how to identify species within the genus.

Correction thanks to Eric Eaton
May 7, 2010
I’m quite certain the “cutworm wasp” posted on April 19 is actually a species of Ammophila rather than Podalonia.  Tough to call from that angle, but I don’t know any Podalonia that resemble this wasp.

Photo of author


BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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